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Washington State University
School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Meet our Faculty!

Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs PortraitsMatt Stichter

Associate Professor

Office: Johnson Tower 817
Phone: 509-335-7121
Curriculum Vitae


My recently published book, The Skillfulness of Virtue: Improving Our Moral and Epistemic Lives (Cambridge University Press, October 2018), defends the thesis that when you acquire a virtue what you are acquiring is a skill.  Learning a skill is a process of acquiring practical knowledge, that is, the knowledge of how to do something, like building a house or driving a car. With virtue, the practical knowledge is the knowledge of how to act morally well, like acting honestly or kindly.  The ‘virtue as skill’ thesis conceives of the virtuous person as an ethical expert, who has achieved expertise in several moral skills.  I ground my conception of skill acquisition in the latest psychological research on self-regulation and expertise, as well as in advances in cognitive science.  This interdisciplinary approach corrects mistakes in discussions of skills in the literature on virtue, and in the philosophy of expertise, which are too often still bound up in outdated conceptions of skills.  It also highlights the relevance of skill acquisition for those working in areas of moral development and moral psychology.


Ph.D. in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, 2007

M.A. in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, 2003

B.A. in Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, 1996

Research Interests:

Ethical Theory, Moral Psychology, Virtue Ethics, Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Expertise, Philosophy of Law, Social and Political Philosophy, Virtue Epistemology


  • Civic Virtue and “True” Selves: Finding Authenticity in the Complexities of Human Public Life (co-PI with Matthew Vess, Rebecca Schlegel, & Joshua Hicks), for The Self, Virtue & Public Life research initiative. (2019-2020)
  • Understanding Virtue and Virtue Development in the Context of Heritability Information (co-PI with Matthew Vess, Rebecca Brooker, & Jenae Nederhiser), for the Genetics & Human Agency research initiative. (2016-2019)

Publications (selected recent work)


  • The Skillfulness of Virtue: Improving our Moral and Epistemic Lives, Cambridge University Press (October 2018).

   Chapters in Edited Volumes:

  • Differentiating the Skills of Practical Wisdom, in De Caro and Vaccarezza (eds.), Practical Wisdom: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Routledge (forthcoming).
  • Virtue as Skill: Self-regulation and Social Psychology, in Fridland and Pavese (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Skill and Expertise. Routledge (forthcoming).
  • Virtue as Skill, in Nancy Snow (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Virtue. New York: Oxford University Press (2017), 57-84.
  • The Role of Motivation and Wisdom in Virtue as Skill, in Annas, Narvaez & Snow (eds.), Developing the Virtues: Integrating Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press (2016), 204-223.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals:

  • Virtue as Skill and the Virtues of Self-Regulation, Journal of Value Inquiry, Special Issue on Virtue and Skill, forthcoming.
  • Virtue, Skill, and Self-Regulation: Shame and Emotion Regulation, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Special Issue on Virtue Ethics and Psychology: Towards a New Science of Virtues?, forthcoming.
  • with Matt Stichter and Leland Saunders, Positive Psychology and Virtue: Values in Action, Journal of Positive Psychology 14(1), Special Issue on Character Strengths and Virtues (2019): 1-5.
  • with Matthew Vess, Rebecca J. Brooker, Matt Stichter, and Jenae M. Nederhiser, Genes and Virtue: Exploring how heritability beliefs shape conceptions of virtue and its development, Behavioral Genetics 49(2), Special Issue on Genetics and Human Agency, (2019): 168-174.
  • Practical Skills and Practical Wisdom in Virtue, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94:3 (2016): 435-448.

  Blog Posts:


  • 2016 College of Arts and Sciences William F. Mullen Memorial Teaching Award


  • Graduate Seminar in Business Ethics
  • Graduate Seminar in Ethical Theory
  • Business Ethics
  • Ethical Theory
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Social and Political Philosophy